If you’ve ever had to ship something, you’ve probably heard of freight class. Freight class is a standard, industry-wide numeric classification system used to categorize commodities transported. There are 18 different freight classes, ranging from common to high value goods. Typically, the higher the freight class, the more expensive your goods are to ship. These classes make it easier to estimate and price the cost of shipping for various goods worldwide.

So, how is freight class determined? Read on to see the five factors that go into freight classification!

1) Density

The first important factor in determining freight class is to determine the of an item. In common terms, what is the item’s weight, compared to its volume? Interesting, low-density items such as bulk ping pongs rank higher in the freight classifications, alongside valuable goods.

2) Handling

Handle with care! Items that require special handling will be placed in a higher class, alongside items that may be considered difficult to transport. These would be things like artifacts, musical instruments, and precious art.

3) Liability

This one is all about the risk. Are you shipping something that is susceptible to theft, such as solid gold bars or jewelry? Or maybe something perishable or fragile, that can easily be spoiled or broken? Things in these categories tend to have a high class as well.

4) Value

Value is pretty self-explanatory. This one simply means that how much the commodity is worth will influences overall rates.  After all, you wouldn’t want to ship a $30,000 instrument for pennies.

5) Stowability

If items are extra-large or hazardous, they can be difficult to stow efficiently, and effect their ability to be stacked or nested. Shipments that require additional resources will be higher in class.

There you have it, the five factors of freight class! Remember, freight classification system is vital for both safety, and organization.


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